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Hoque’s Day Out: Inside Dhaka Bakeries

February 15, 2011

Façade of a typical bakery

Bakery industry of Bangladesh has been employing hundreds of thousands people and providing a steady supply of fluffy bread,  cake, delicious snacks and various kinds of cookies. But precise number of people working in this industry, number of bakery, amount of money invested here have not yet been studied.

Façade of a typical bakery

 Keeping aside the negligible few, which are big and enlisted in the stock market, there are two kinds of bakery, as I observed while doing a little research on writing a feature on bakery, one that sells their products at their outlets and the other that distributes their products at other stores located all over Dhaka.

 Ruma Bakery, started its journey 30 years ago and located in Mirpur, is one such bakery that has its own outlet. Babul, main baker of Ruma Bakery, tells that everyday they make 40 kgs of biscuit and 30/40 lbs of cake. They make toast, dhalai biscuit, ovaltin buiscuit, butter salt, coconut buiscuit, dudhkacha, cookies etc. They also make birthday cake, fruitcake and ovaltin cake. At their outlets, they also sell samosa, singara, pizza, vegetable roll, burger, sandwitch, tana parota etc , bought from other vendors. Ruma bakery employs 12 people and earns around BDT 15000 everyday.

 On the other hand, Ayub Bakery supplies its own bakery items at the door steps of groceries, general stores and road-side make shift stores using its own rickshaw vans. Bakery manager Kabir tells that they make 40 kgs of biscuits and 60 lbs of cake everyday. They make toast, drycake, fruitcake etc.

In addition, they also make pastry items like Danish , Jelly Cake and Madhuban. They employ 40 people and they have 20 rickshaw vans to market their products.

 More or less all the bakeries that I’ve talked to complained that they are having a harsh time as price of essential ingredients goes up. Price hike eats up their profit margin as the price of bakery items takes time to re-adjust.

 Badal told,” 3 or 4 years back we purchased a flour-sack of 85 kg at BDT 1200 ,now a flour-sack of 50 kg costs BDT 1700. In the past, we bought 100 eggs at BDT 400-450, now 100 eggs cost BDT 600-650. “

 Bakeries raise their business at their own money, they hardly depend on banks. Bakery plays a crucial role in creating local entrepreneur and wage employment at the local level.

 Many bakeries employ children. And people working in these bakeries do not have any formal training. Ambience of a typical bakery is also unhealthy. Fingers often pointed at bakeries for using expired, stale ingredients, hazardous textile dye to make bread, biscuits, cake etc.

 But bakeries seem to be less interested to issues like hygiene, food value and public health. There is lack of initiative from govt.’s side to aware bakeries on hygiene issues, to set the standard of food value, hygiene etc., and to hold responsible the agency that will implement these matters.

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